21 Feb antibiotics in your meat – Why organic meat is worth the extra cost
Important for both non-meat and meat eaters to know. We don’t believe that it’s worth it to save the few extra dollars when purchasing non-organic meat. The use of Antibiotics in the livestock industry can lead to severe health issues.
according to the food and drug administration antibiotics by the meat industry is on the rise. The amount of antibiotics sold to farmers and ranchers for administration to livestock has gone up by 20% between 2009 and 2013.
Why is antibiotics in our meat a problem?
Human antibiotics are administered to animals that are not sick. Livestock bread and grown for the non-organic meat section of your grocery store don’t live in the nicest conditions. These animals are often crammed together or in pens that aren’t very sanitary. This can result in the animal getting sick and stopping it from growing to a healthy size.
It goes without saying that improving animal living conditions would yield healthier, bigger animals, but that costs money, and drugs are a cheaper option. Adding human antibiotics to animal food and water supplies can help them grow up to 3% larger than they normally would. Which is significant in an industry where the product is sold by the pound.
This is good news for the farmers, bad news for those of us who eat meat. Giving healthy animals antibiotics kills off weaker bacteria and creates a perfect environment for antibiotic resistant bacteria to grow and thrive.
Those antibiotic resistant bacteria travel directly to the consumer through the meat itself or from the meat handling and preparation process. If you eat undercooked meat where those antibiotic resistant bacteria are present you could get sick by a bacterium the intended antibiotic can’t treat.
The CDC say that around 2 million Americans get infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria each year. At least 23 thousand people died from those infections. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, the US uses far more antibiotics in livestock than other nations. Norway and Denmark use about 6% less antibiotics raising their animals. Feeding antibiotics to animals is illegal in Canada and a number of European nations.
A Federal policy was put in place in 2014 that would force drug manufacturers to label their products as unfit for animal consumption unless prescribed by a veterinarian. But this policy didn’t address a major loop hole. Farmers can argue that they’re feeding they’re livestock drugs to prevent illness. Which is an effect from the antibiotics in the animal’s food supply.
The meat industry doesn’t publicize figures about drug usage in livestock so it’s hard to say just how much antibiotics make it into our food supply. According to a study published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, more than 63 thousand tons of antibiotics were used by livestock farmers in 2010.
Researchers expect that number to rise by 67% by 2030. On the other hand, some companies are starting to calm or even eliminate the use of human anti-biotics in animals. In 2015 McDonalds announced that they were planning to phase out antibiotic chicken in its US restaurants. Chipotle and Panera have been offering Antibiotic free meat for a while now.